Self DJ, Schrader DE, Baldwin DC Jr, Root SK, Wolinsky FD, Shadduck JA. Study of the influence of veterinary medical education on the moral development of veterinary students. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1991 Mar 1;198(5):782-7

PMID: 1953847


Although veterinary medicine endorses high moral character and adherence to a code of ethics, to our knowledge, virtually no studies have examined the influence of veterinary medical education on the moral development of its students. Using the Kohlberg standard moral judgment interview, this study examined that relationship in a sample of 20 veterinary medical students (16.0% of the veterinary college's student body). The students were tested at the beginning and at the end of their veterinary medical education to determine whether their moral reasoning scores had increased to the same extent as those of other postgraduate students. It was found that normally expected increases in moral reasoning did not occur over the four years of veterinary medical education for these students, suggesting that their veterinary medical educational experience somehow inhibited their moral reasoning ability rather than facilitated it. With a range of moral reasoning scores between 313 and 436, the mean increase from first year to fourth year of 12.5 points was not statistically significant. Statistical analysis revealed no significant correlations between the moral reasoning scores on age or gender, although there were significant correlations with Medical College Admissions Test scores and grade point average scores.